Iron-deficiency anaemia during the first two years of life

  • Magnus Domellöf
  • Olle Hernell


Iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA) is a global public health problem, affecting an estimated 51% of children below 4 years of age in developing countries and 12% in developed countries. Owing to rapid body growth and a depletion of neonatal iron stores, iron requirements during late infancy are higher than during any other period of life. There is a well-known association between IDA and delayed neurodevelopment in infants and young children. Early weaning to cow’s milk or formula unfortified with iron is known to increase the risk for IDA in this age group. Iron fortification of common infant foods is recommended in many countries. Iron supplements are often recommended for infants who are breast-fed for longer than 4–6 months and who do not consume adequate amounts of iron-fortified complementary foods. The scientific bases for these recommendations are discussed in this review, as are safety aspects, and the diagnostic criteria for IDA in infants and young child ren are critically examined. Keywords: Human infant, infant nutrition, iron-deficiency anaemia, iron status, iron supplementation, nutritional requirements


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How to Cite
Domellöf M., & Hernell O. (2002). Iron-deficiency anaemia during the first two years of life. Food & Nutrition Research, 20-30.